The Isotope Communique
Posts Tagged ‘kids love comics’
Lark Pien Show in Hayes Valley

The beauty of Hayes Valley continues to grow all the time and we couldn’t be more thrilled to hear that SF’s comic folks are a source of inspiration to the ever-flourishing wave of delightful new boutiques in the ‘hood.

And what could be a better match than the pairing of one of our favorite Bay Area cartoonists of all, Lark Pien, and Hayes Valley’s recently-opened café/playroom seesaw? Friends of the Isotope will certainly fondly remember our 2006 American Born Chinese launch party with Lark and author/artist Gene Yang, and there’s been no shortage of folks we’ve turned on to the wonderfulness that is her cartooning.

Lark’s dreamy comic books Long Tail Kitty, Mr. Elephanter and Mr. Boombha are great reads for kids of all ages and the perfect additions to Seesaw’s neat and innovative developmental toy and book boutique. Lark will be signing books, meeting fans and families and no doubt telling us more about her upcoming 2 volume graphic novel with Gene Yang called Boxers & Saints. We will definitely be in attendance, come join us!

And hey while you’re there, sign yourself and the little one up for one of seesaw’s nifty workshops… including a Baby Sign Language class (seriously)!

Lark Pien Art Opening @ seesaw
600 Octavia @ Grove
Friday, May 6th
5pm – 10pm

You Will Be Missed Tokyopop

Sad news today. The company that started a manga revolution, Tokyopop, is shutting down operations here in the states.

Back when the Isotope was still incubating in the demo tape years we had the proud distinction of the biggest and most diverse selection of manga in San Francisco, dominated by books from VIZ, PULP, Comics One, Dark Horse, Studio Ironcat, Redline Manga, Komics Dreamarts, and the early Mixx/Tokyopop titles. We put a lot care into expanding what we already had and diversifying our mighty manga selection every month. As it was always our mission to seek out new comic readers we were all particularly thrilled to see all of the non-traditional readers that it brought in. The section’s popularity continued to grow with the ever-increasing of great books and we did lots of manga business for that first year. With the launch of Tokyopop’s daring “Authentic Manga” (backwards reading) format suddenly interest in manga in San Francisco exploded… and suddenly, it seemed like every single shop in SF was suddenly a place to buy manga. Not just the comic shops and book stores, they were even selling the likes of Cardcaptor Sakura and Sailor Moon at our local 40oz liquor store.

Manga was everywhere in San Francisco!

And that’s when our sales went dead.

Whether it was that we hadn’t inspired enough loyalty in that particular customer base, couldn’t keep up with the stocking that multi-million dollar bookstore chains were doing, or just couldn’t compete when people were picking up their manga everywhere in the city it’s tough to say. But it was pretty clear that for whatever reason we’d lost the audience and we just weren’t the destination for those books anymore.

As an admirer of Malcolm McLaren‘s “forced generational gap” theory, I found the whole “Authentic Manga” choice downright brilliant on Tokyopop’s part. If he knew anything about the comics industry, McLaren would certainly have been impressed with the company’s most likely unintentional application of that theory of his! So while sales of their books had slowed to a crawl at the shop, and it took years of nurturing an audience for manga the likes of which Vertical, the VIZ IKKI line, and Drawn & Quarterly produce to once again move the manga sales needle here at the Isotope, my admiration of Tokyopop just grew and grew.

Tokyopop reinvented what comics were and who read them. They made the infusion of the culture of comics with fashion, music, and lifestyle effortless and fun. All things that we hoped to do in our own small way, things that had been built into the DNA of what the Isotope is. They made being a fan of sequential art something kids were excited about again and certainly made American comic conventions a heck of a lot more interesting. But they did so much more than any of that… they brought in a generation of comic readers and they made comics cool. So despite them pretty much being single-handedly responsible for mucking up the category’s sales at the Isotope, we will forever be in their debt.

I’m sure the rest of the industry will have a few thousand 2 cents on the topic as well in the coming days and weeks. And no doubt we’re all hoping that from the ashes of their closure there will be some rights reversions happening and someone will manage to re-publish some of the great OEL books that the company produced like The Dark Goodbye, East Coast Rising, Snow, and particularly Ross Campbell’s amazing zombie comic The Abandoned which has been out of print for far, far too long.

You will be missed Tokyopop. Your reign in the industry was truly glorious.

They have Jane Austen comics!

“Dad, dad! They have Jane Austen comics!”

Happy 9th birthday!

Making Your Holidays Simple

One of my favorite things in life is doing personal shopping, scouring the store shelves for treasures to put together the perfect selection of graphic novels for each person’s taste, and during the holidays I’m blessed to get to do it so much.

My goal when helping folks gift shop is always two-fold. First, I want to blow your friend or loved one’s mind with amazingness, hat’s probably fairly typical just about any small business you might shop at. But more important than that, I want your friend or loved one to open that present, look at you, and think one word, “Genius!” Because that is my real goal when helping people shop for gifts at the Isotope… I want to make you look like the most brilliantly genius friend or loved one they have ever met.

Just stop in and I’ll cheerfully do that exact thing for you, or for all those varied people on your holiday shopping list.

For those folks out there who can’t come into the Isotope, we’re happy to make personalized Gift Certificates for your friends and loved ones too. Just give us a call (415) 621 – 6543 and we can effortlessly make you one for any amount you’d like over the phone and email you one to put in their holiday stocking this year. And if you ask, I’ll even make you a special personal card too.

Shouldn’t everything around the holidays be as simple?

Sometimes The Mail Is Adorable

(snif) Excuse me… think I got something in my eye!

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